CFA displays judicial independence

Following recent overseas criticism about the decline of rule of law in Hong Kong (and angry government response), the Court of Final Appeal surprises many with its ‘zip-ties’ decision

…If the wider interpretation applied, it would mean that “almost all articles or instruments can be considered as fit for some unlawful purposes,” the top court ruled.

“In other words, under this construction, section 17 is in reality a thought crime, depending on what a defendant’s intent was at the material time (subject to proof). There is simply no warrant to suggest that this was the legislative intent,” the judgement read.

The ruling clearly favours the protection of citizens against abuses of state power. However, Samuel Bickett is not too impressed…

DOJ’s use of this law was so clearly wrong that it was nearly impossible for the CFA to rule otherwise. This seems to be the CFA’s pattern in political cases: hear political cases & rule in favor of Hongkongers only when lower court practice is so absurd as to be indisputable.

Having been told that Hong Kong does not have separation of powers, the courts will usually refrain from exercising independence in order to forestall measures that overtly and forcefully bring them into line.

An SCMP story suggests that even a relatively gutsy CFA will be unable to withstand the imminent local Article 23 NatSec Law. This will, in effect, absorb colonial-era sedition, ‘incitement of hatred’ and other offenses into the NatSec framework of guilt-presuming pre-trial treatment and harsh post-trial penalties…

[Justice Secretary Paul] Lam also defended the recent sentencing of veteran activist Koo Sze-yiu to nine months in jail on a sedition charge, saying no one had been punished solely for hurling abuses against the government.

“You can’t take things out of context. Criticism is absolutely not problematic, as the law clearly states that it is not seditious if the intention is to point out defects in hope for improvements and remedy,” he said. “The recently convicted cases did involve seditious intentions to overthrow the regime.”

What if, like Koo, you believe the one-party system is a defect and call for it to end as a remedy?

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7 Responses to CFA displays judicial independence

  1. Sam Clemens says:

    “What if, like Koo, you believe the one-party system is a defect and call for it to end as a remedy?”

    There you go again, applying rational thought to an irrational situation.

  2. wmjp says:

    What if, like Koo, you believe the one-party system is a defect and call for it to end as a remedy?

    Catch 23

  3. A Poor Man says:

    I agree with Bickett. While the CFA might have finally delivered justice to Chan Chun-Kit, I focus on the costs he paid. He was persecuted by the government for years, and spent time locked up that he will never get back, because he had a pack of zip-ties with him when he was unlucky enough to be grabbed by the po po during a protest.

    Should the jailed HK-47 sit in prison for years (17 months and counting) and take a chance that the CFA will some point in the very distant future agree with them that they committed no crime by participating in a popularity poll, or should they plead guilty to something and hope to get their freedom back sooner rather than later? This is the kind of perverse choice the HK “justice” system now forces people to make.

  4. Mark Bradley says:

    @A Poor Man

    And don’t forget that the HK47 will be dealing with a counterfeit NSLCFA that essentially operates in parallel that only has NSL approved judges unlike Chan Chun-Kit who got the genuine albeit still pretty spineless CFA.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “This will, in effect, absorb colonial-era sedition, ‘incitement of hatred’ and other offenses into the NatSec framework of guilt-presuming pre-trial treatment and harsh post-trial penalties…”

    Will? Pretty sure it already happened.

    The NSLCFA already increased the scope of NSL by interpreting existing colonial era sedition laws so that they are already covered by the more stringent bail requirements of NSL essentially already incorporating pre existing sedition laws and making them no bail speech crime laws. Meanwhile triads accused of violent crime can easily post bail under the old common law system and enjoy presumption of innocence.

    I’m sure Article 23 will extend the number of years in prison for sedition and as well is give it other teeth like mandatory minimum sentences.

  6. bruisedego says:

    Every once in a while I try to get my head around a government policy and ideology that takes a punitive view of its own citizens, and I start to get so frazzled that I have to stop thinking.

    I guess this is the point.

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    “And don’t forget that the HK47 will be dealing with a counterfeit NSLCFA that essentially operates in parallel that only has NSL approved judges unlike Chan Chun-Kit who got the genuine albeit still pretty spineless CFA.”

    Can we just, in the words of the HKCCPSARG, just refer to it as the “So called CFA”?

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